Tehran, Aug 12, IRNA – The Indonesian ambassador to Tehran says all countries members to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have welcomed the nuclear deal between Iran and major powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).
“It is the deal that not only Iran and the p5+1 were looking forward but also us in Indonesia and all ASEAN countries are happy to see it,” Dian Wirengjurit tells the Tehran Times.
Following is the text of the interview:
A: What is the general view of Asian countries including Indonesia toward Iran now that Tehran and P5+1 have agreed on a comprehensive nuclear deal based on which sanctions are going to be lifted against the Islamic Republic?
A: Certainly what happened in Vienna is a historic achievement, the deal of the P5+1 and Iran; it is the deal that not only Iran and the p5+1 were looking forward but also us in Indonesia and all ASEAN countries are happy to see it. I believe the problems between Iran and P5+1 are not only problems for you but also for the region and affects the whole world economically. I must say something about the lifting of the sanctions. It is also a different thing because the sanctions are not going to be lifted automatically. Iran has to fulfill some obligations in order to see the sanctions lifted.
Q: What are the economic and political attractions for Iran and Indonesia to boost ties?
A: Iran and Indonesia are two countries which have many similarities and commonalities particularly in regard to Islam. Iran and Indonesia are the two biggest Muslim countries in terms of Sunni and Shia. Now that extremists have presented a violent image of Islam, Iran and Indonesia can play a very significant role to introduce the true face of Islam. Islam is not the religion of violence and terrorism. Islam is the religion of peace. Iran and Indonesia can work together to spread this message to the world in political arena. In economic arena I can tell that we need each other. We need your oil, petrochemical products and technology and at the same time you need our paper, palm oil, rubber, tea and coffee. So we need each other, our commodity are complementary. Because of sanctions we cannot make deal between the countries at the maximum capacity, only very small amount. I hope if finally the sanctions will be lifted, we see the flows of your goods to Indonesia and Indonesia’s commodity to Iran.
Q: Would you please explain about the areas for technological cooperation between Iran and Indonesia?
A: You have excellent technology in terms of oil and gas. We need your technology to construct refineries. You have also excellent technology in terms of infrastructure and electricity. We need more power plants because the new government of Indonesia is planning to construct more and more infrastructure projects including roads. In Iran you have very good infrastructure. You can go everywhere by very excellent roads and railways. We need all of these things and Iran has all of them.
Q: Is there any overall planning by Indonesia’s government and private sectors to do business with Iran when the sanctions are lifted?
A: Believe me, even during the sanctions we can do business with Iran but we have to find ways to evade the sanctions. The biggest problem for Indonesian business people to do business with Iran is about the payment because of the sanctions in the banking system and transaction. Some counties have been able to do business with Iran even during the sanctions; I think we can follow those steps and ways, too.
I was in Jakarta three days ago I had a meeting with Indonesian minister of trade. The government of Indonesia is looking for what to do more in order to do more business with Iran because of the signing of the nuclear agreement. Now we are preparing strategy to do more business with Iran. Of course we are not only talking about the trade we are also talking about tourism and investment that you mentioned.
Yes, we do have comprehensive plan of action to do more business with Iran especially in terms of infrastructure.
Q: In addition to economic and cultural cooperation, what are the other arenas of interest for cooperation between Iran and Indonesia?
A: Sure, Iran and Indonesia have been close friends for many years particularly in international forums and organizations. By maximizing our relation in international forums and organizations we can send messages to the world. We can make use of forums like United Nations, NAM and OIC and also regional organizations; for example you have ECO in this region and we have ASEAN. We can start whatever we want to do from bilateral and sub-regional level to international level. All the mechanisms are there, we have to make use. If this nuclear agreement is implemented according to the provisions, I believe in very near future Iran will become normal member of international community, meaning that you can do whatever you can in order to work with any country in order to maintain peace, fight terrorism and drug trafficking.
Q: Iran is now an observer member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and is trying to gain full membership. What is the stance of your country toward this issue?
A: Each country has its own policy and foreign affairs. Based on our national interest, at the moment in Indonesia we are focusing on sub regional organizations like ASEAN because this year ASEAN will become an official union like the European Union. Lots of things integrated ASEAN countries not only in political arenas but also in economic, social and other arenas. ASEAN countries will be united like European countries, so it is our main focus.
For Iran as a sovereign country it can do whatever is in line with its national interests. For the time being Indonesia like Iran is an observer member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization but our main priority is ASEAN at the moment.
What is important for me is the direct link of people of Iran and Indonesia as to big Muslim countries. Look at this region, there are a lot of misunderstanding about Islam; look at ISIS (DAESH); they have created a different perception of Islam, as if Islam is synonymous with violence, and it is terrorizes, tortures and beheads people. This is the impression that the world gets from ISIS. We as Iran and Indonesia must change this impression because it is not Islam, it is against Islam. Victims of ISIS are not only Sunnis and Shias but also people from other religions. Iran and Indonesia can play a significant role to counter this perception created by ISIS.